If Technology Doesn’t Make Your Life Better, It Makes It Worse
I fully stand behind Medium’s Membership program. I believe in it as I have believed in the company from the start. It’s going to change a lot of lives for the better. Mine is already one of them.
I want to show my commitment by serving Members the best way I can. My first attempt will be an ongoing series on using technology to fight technology. The theme is control.
One of the core ideas of Stoicism, a philosophy that has greatly improved my life, is to focus only on what you can control. Two of the most important things we do control are our time and attention — in theory. For as long as humans have existed, thieves have tried to steal our two most precious resources from us.
The sweet honey distracting the neanderthal until he’s eaten by a sabertooth tiger. The pleasures driving the inhabitants of the Palace of Versailles into madness. And now, a plethora of devices suffocating us, clamoring for our attention until we can’t resist, only to hate ourselves for giving in later on.
This isn’t just about technology. It’s about the human struggle to master our most precious resources, our time and our attention, before it’s too late and all we can do is regret letting them slip before we die.
It just so happens that technology is the vehicle the time and attention thieves have chosen in our generation. My argument is that only when we fight the overwhelm of technology can we put these two resources back into our own hands. Ironically, we can achieve this by using technology, but only a select few tools.
The name of my first series is AntiTech. Here’s my 10-second pitch for it:
We devised technology to live better, but its meteoric rise over the last decade has turned us into slaves of our own creations. Now, the only good tools left are those that render all other tools unnecessary. We must fight our way through the jungle of tech to find them and get back what we lost: our time and our attention.
Over the next 8–12 weeks, I will write one Members post each week, illustrating one of the struggles we face with technology, the science behind it, and how we can use a few specific tools to deal with it.
As a result, you’ll be less anxious, stressed, exhausted and get more done with less. You’ll be better able to determine the boundaries of technology’s usefulness in your life and reflect more carefully on what to use and what you can do without. It’ll make you calm, connected and hopefully a bit happier too.
Here’s an overview of the series, which I will update with each post as I publish it.
Phase 1: Unhooking Machine-to-Human Distractions
- How To Stop Being Addicted To Facebook
- How To Make Music A Useful Part Of Your Life Again
- How To Stop Binge-Watching From Ruining Your Life
- A Phone Setup That Will Make You More Mindful
Intermezzo: The Principle Behind Mastering Your Devices
Phase 2: Mastering Human-to-Human Distractions
Phase 3: Using The Tech That Remains To Enhance Control Over Our Time & Attention
- How To Get The Most Out Of Your Calendar
- A Plug & Play Life: How To Access Your Data From Anywhere
- Battery Life Hacks: All You Need To Know
- How To Set Up Your Mac For Focused Work
- How To Move Around Your Mac At The Speed Of Light
- How To Expand Your Brain And Think Clearly With Evernote
- Lessons From Walking 10,000 Steps Every Day For A Year
Recap: What True Control Is Really About
I’m really excited to go on this journey with you and start a conversation. If you want to join me, you can sign up for my newsletter, which will deliver the new posts to your inbox each weekend. Or, just follow me on Medium.
Whatever suggestions you have, topics you want me to cover, tools you love, criticism or feedback as to where the series should go next, I’m all ears.
Drop a response below, AntiTech let’s go!
The only tools worth using are the tools not using you.